Do patients with a limited number of brain metastases need whole-brain radiotherapy in addition to radiosurgery?

D. Rades, S. E. Schild

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background. About 40% of patients with brain metastases have a very limited number of lesions and may be candidates for radiosurgery. Radiosurgery alone is superior to whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) alone for control of treated and new brain metastases. In patients with a good performance status, radiosurgery also resulted in better survival. However, the question is whether the results of radiosurgery alone can be further improved with additional WBRT.Methods. Information for this review was compiled by searching the PubMed and MEDLINE databases. Very important published meeting abstracts were also considered.Results. Based on both retrospective and prospective studies, the addition of WBRT to radiosurgery improved control of treated and new brain metastases but not survival. However, because a recurrence within the brain has a negative impact on neurocognitive function, it is important to achieve long-term control of brain metastases.Conclusion. The addition of WBRT provides significant benefits. Further randomized studies including adequate assessment of neurocognitive function and a follow-up period of at least 2 years are needed to help customize the treatment for individual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-706
Number of pages5
JournalStrahlentherapie und Onkologie
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • Brain metastases
  • Neurocognitive function
  • Radiosurgery
  • Treatment outcomes
  • Whole-brain radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Oncology


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